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A tart topped with thinly sliced, candied oranges.
A tart from Spencer in Ann Arbor.
Spencer/Official

12 Outstanding Ann Arbor Restaurants and Bars to Check Out

A dozen spots to order takeout or delivery around Tree City this winter

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A tart from Spencer in Ann Arbor.
| Spencer/Official

Ann Arbor’s restaurant scene is a reflection of the town itself — eclectic, diverse, and strongly independent. But like everywhere else, the pandemic has forced dining and drinking establishments to be creative in order to continue serving their community. Michigan’s new law allowing for takeout and delivery cocktails has helped and local restaurants have either expanded or initiated carryout and delivery options. Now that winter is approaching, a few have created heated outdoor spaces, too.

Below, readers will find a must-have dining experiences with details on how to support these local restaurants this pandemic — be that by dining on a patio, by ordering carryout, or picking up a meal kits and pantry items to enjoy at home. In this update, the stylish Blue Llama jazz club with their pop-up style carryout menus joins the list as does Cuban-influenced burger favorite Frita Batidos.

Takeout is generally considered by health experts to be lower-risk than in-person service, and drinking can lower people’s inhibitions, so be careful. Whenever possible (or required) it’s essential that customers wear a mask and wash their hands regularly. This is a tough time for the restaurant industry and its staff, too, so please, if you do choose to grab a bite, be kind and remember to tip well — even if you’re doing to-go drinks.

Eater Detroit has done its best to confirm the status of these restaurants, but the situation is changing daily, so make sure to check websites and social media for the latest information.

Many Ann Arbor restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the state of Michigan’s coronavirus tracker. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Knight's Steakhouse

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Both the original Dexter Road and downtown locations are open and serving their classic steakhouse menus in heated outdoor spaces. A sip of the generously-sized cocktails may help take any nip out of the Michigan air. Diners can also order online for curbside pickup. 

The horse head-shaped sign for Knight’s in front of the restaurant. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

The Last Word

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The Last Word’s intimate underground speakeasy isn’t open for indoor dining at the moment, but fans can sip the bar’s excellent cocktails and rare premium bourbons at home. Be sure to check out the charcuterie boards and other food items when ordering online for curbside pickup. 

The orange colored cocktail sits next to a glass candle holder on a wooden table in a dimly lit bar. Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

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This counterculture hangout maintains a devoted following thanks to its burgers overflowing with a wide variety of toppings. While the old-school Blimpy Burger dine-in experience isn’t an option, the restaurant’s legendary burgers can be ordered online for delivery and pickup.

An extremely messy burger on wax paper. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

Frita Batidos Ann Arbor

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This purveyor of Cuban-influenced street food from nationally recognized chef Eve Aronoff is known for its namesake fritas (burgers made with crispy shoestring fries) and batidos (tropical milkshakes in flavors like hibiscus and coconut cream). Don’t forget to complete the meal with an orange-scented churro served with thick, rich chocolate sauce. Limited patio seating is available as well as online ordering for carryout or delivery. 

A row of sandwiches from Frita Batidos including an egg-topped burger with french fries and a Cubano sandwich. Frita Batidos/Scott Spellman

Blue Llama Jazz Club

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Blue Llama is relative newcomer to the Main Street area, but has quickly proven itself a destination for its live jazz and inventive menu. Although the pandemic has limited the venue’s live music offerings, diners can choose from a variety of distinctive carryout and delivery pop-ups options including Blue Llama Bistro (French), Jibarito (Latin-influenced), and sister restaurant Of Rice & Men (modern Asian). Order online for carryout or delivery. 

Two croquettes topped with poached eggs and an orange sauce on a gray, rectangular plate. The Blue Llama [Courtesy photo]

Spencer

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Spencer is offering carryout and delivery options, so customers can enjoy the restaurant’s seasonal menu at home. Ready-to-go and cook-at-home items such as cheese plates, sides, and cookie dough, as well as an wine are available. Call to place a food order or place a wine order online

Miss Kim

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James Beard Awards semifinalist Ji Hye Kim’s inspired Korean food is available through online ordering for curbside pickup.  Ready-to-eat dishes such as ribs or Korean fried chicken, wine, beer, sauces, and sides are available for a feast at home. Miss Kim will be featuring pop-up collaborations with chefs and other vendors throughout the winter including Saffron De Twah, Basil Babe, and a collaboration between Zingerman’s Cornman Farms and Lala’s.

Wings with a side of pickled pink radishes, a pink cocktail in a cup, and more salads on the side. Miss Kim/Emma Boonstra

Zingerman's Delicatessen

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This Ann Arbor institution is considered to be one of the best delis in the country for its sandwiches made with Zingerman’s bread and top quality ingredients. Sandwiches, soups, and sides are only available for carryout and delivery. Order online or over the phone. Grocery and specialty goods remain are available for in-person shopping. 

A massive Reuben sandwich from Zingerman’s sits in a basket sliced in half. Zingerman’s Delicatessen/Official

Tomukun Noodle Bar

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Tomukun is open with some limited outdoor seating, so patrons can eat traditional Korean barbecue on tabletop grills as well as the rest of the restaurant’s East Asian comfort food menu. Carryout and in-house delivery are available online so diners can enjoy noodle dishes, soups, and barbecue at home.

Ricewood

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Ricewood developed a strong lunchtime following as a food truck with its smoked meats served Chamorro- style over rice and with a spicy finadene sauce. Now open year-round inside York, the restaurant stall has also added limited specials such as tacos, Szechuan-style smoked chicken, and brisket burgers. Customers can visit Ricewood inside of York or order online for pickup. 

Barbecue sliced in a bowl with veggies. John Reyes

Seoul Street

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Since Seoul Street’s northside dining room is very small and its Korean fried chicken is immensely popular, online ordering has always been strongly recommended. The restaurant’s double-frying technique creates extra-crispy chicken, so the crunch is still there after the drive home.

A pile of Korean fried chicken in a red plastic basket lined with wax paper. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

Ma Lou's Fried Chicken

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This Ypsilanti spot is still serving perfectly cooked fried chicken, either in sandwiches or Nashville-style with a sauce that lives up to its “Hot AF” moniker.  The dining room is closed, but fans can order online for pickup or delivery.

Knight's Steakhouse

The horse head-shaped sign for Knight’s in front of the restaurant. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

Both the original Dexter Road and downtown locations are open and serving their classic steakhouse menus in heated outdoor spaces. A sip of the generously-sized cocktails may help take any nip out of the Michigan air. Diners can also order online for curbside pickup. 

The horse head-shaped sign for Knight’s in front of the restaurant. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

The Last Word

The orange colored cocktail sits next to a glass candle holder on a wooden table in a dimly lit bar. Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Last Word’s intimate underground speakeasy isn’t open for indoor dining at the moment, but fans can sip the bar’s excellent cocktails and rare premium bourbons at home. Be sure to check out the charcuterie boards and other food items when ordering online for curbside pickup. 

The orange colored cocktail sits next to a glass candle holder on a wooden table in a dimly lit bar. Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

An extremely messy burger on wax paper. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

This counterculture hangout maintains a devoted following thanks to its burgers overflowing with a wide variety of toppings. While the old-school Blimpy Burger dine-in experience isn’t an option, the restaurant’s legendary burgers can be ordered online for delivery and pickup.

An extremely messy burger on wax paper. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

Frita Batidos Ann Arbor

A row of sandwiches from Frita Batidos including an egg-topped burger with french fries and a Cubano sandwich. Frita Batidos/Scott Spellman

This purveyor of Cuban-influenced street food from nationally recognized chef Eve Aronoff is known for its namesake fritas (burgers made with crispy shoestring fries) and batidos (tropical milkshakes in flavors like hibiscus and coconut cream). Don’t forget to complete the meal with an orange-scented churro served with thick, rich chocolate sauce. Limited patio seating is available as well as online ordering for carryout or delivery. 

A row of sandwiches from Frita Batidos including an egg-topped burger with french fries and a Cubano sandwich. Frita Batidos/Scott Spellman

Blue Llama Jazz Club

Two croquettes topped with poached eggs and an orange sauce on a gray, rectangular plate. The Blue Llama [Courtesy photo]

Blue Llama is relative newcomer to the Main Street area, but has quickly proven itself a destination for its live jazz and inventive menu. Although the pandemic has limited the venue’s live music offerings, diners can choose from a variety of distinctive carryout and delivery pop-ups options including Blue Llama Bistro (French), Jibarito (Latin-influenced), and sister restaurant Of Rice & Men (modern Asian). Order online for carryout or delivery. 

Two croquettes topped with poached eggs and an orange sauce on a gray, rectangular plate. The Blue Llama [Courtesy photo]

Spencer

Spencer is offering carryout and delivery options, so customers can enjoy the restaurant’s seasonal menu at home. Ready-to-go and cook-at-home items such as cheese plates, sides, and cookie dough, as well as an wine are available. Call to place a food order or place a wine order online

Miss Kim

Wings with a side of pickled pink radishes, a pink cocktail in a cup, and more salads on the side. Miss Kim/Emma Boonstra

James Beard Awards semifinalist Ji Hye Kim’s inspired Korean food is available through online ordering for curbside pickup.  Ready-to-eat dishes such as ribs or Korean fried chicken, wine, beer, sauces, and sides are available for a feast at home. Miss Kim will be featuring pop-up collaborations with chefs and other vendors throughout the winter including Saffron De Twah, Basil Babe, and a collaboration between Zingerman’s Cornman Farms and Lala’s.

Wings with a side of pickled pink radishes, a pink cocktail in a cup, and more salads on the side. Miss Kim/Emma Boonstra

Zingerman's Delicatessen

A massive Reuben sandwich from Zingerman’s sits in a basket sliced in half. Zingerman’s Delicatessen/Official

This Ann Arbor institution is considered to be one of the best delis in the country for its sandwiches made with Zingerman’s bread and top quality ingredients. Sandwiches, soups, and sides are only available for carryout and delivery. Order online or over the phone. Grocery and specialty goods remain are available for in-person shopping. 

A massive Reuben sandwich from Zingerman’s sits in a basket sliced in half. Zingerman’s Delicatessen/Official

Tomukun Noodle Bar

Tomukun is open with some limited outdoor seating, so patrons can eat traditional Korean barbecue on tabletop grills as well as the rest of the restaurant’s East Asian comfort food menu. Carryout and in-house delivery are available online so diners can enjoy noodle dishes, soups, and barbecue at home.

Ricewood

Barbecue sliced in a bowl with veggies. John Reyes

Ricewood developed a strong lunchtime following as a food truck with its smoked meats served Chamorro- style over rice and with a spicy finadene sauce. Now open year-round inside York, the restaurant stall has also added limited specials such as tacos, Szechuan-style smoked chicken, and brisket burgers. Customers can visit Ricewood inside of York or order online for pickup. 

Barbecue sliced in a bowl with veggies. John Reyes

Seoul Street

A pile of Korean fried chicken in a red plastic basket lined with wax paper. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

Since Seoul Street’s northside dining room is very small and its Korean fried chicken is immensely popular, online ordering has always been strongly recommended. The restaurant’s double-frying technique creates extra-crispy chicken, so the crunch is still there after the drive home.

A pile of Korean fried chicken in a red plastic basket lined with wax paper. John Reyes/Eater Detroit

Ma Lou's Fried Chicken

This Ypsilanti spot is still serving perfectly cooked fried chicken, either in sandwiches or Nashville-style with a sauce that lives up to its “Hot AF” moniker.  The dining room is closed, but fans can order online for pickup or delivery.

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